NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia has been busy the past legislative session, ensuring that all Virginians have equal access to healthcare and health services. And our work has paid off- multiple bills go into law today (July 1) that specifically expand reproductive healthcare access for Virginians everywhere.
Here’s what’s changed, and here’s what you need to know:
SB 1276 and HB1896. We repealed the abortion coverage ban on the state health exchange, which means more people will be able to access abortion coverage through their health insurance. Check with your insurance provider if they now cover abortions. Since we repealed the coverage ban, they now can provide coverage if they are on the state exchange.
SB1227. Medicaid now covers birth control for twelve months! Private insurance plans are now required to provide a yearlong supply of hormonal contraceptives to insurers when prescribed by a doctor or medical provider. This means you might have access to a whole year of birth control, which makes it easier for Virginians to acquire yearlong contraceptives.
HB1950. Virginia is putting money towards researching how to better improve fetal and infant mortality rates. The Virginia Department of Health and Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will meet in a Fetal and Infant Mortality Workgroup and will turn in their findings in a report in December of 2021, which will be responsible for studying and devising a plan to improve fetal and infant outcomes. This means that new parents and their families will have better healthcare outcomes.
SB1300. The Board of Local and Regional Jails will look into how pregnant incarcerated people are treated in Virginia. Often, incarcerated pregnant folks are not provided access to the resources or healthcare that they need to ensure they stay safe and healthy. This legislation will give Virginia insights into how it can better increase reproductive healthcare access to incarcerated folks, and the state of treatment and care in local and regional jails.
SB1178. Genetic counselors are now unable to use their moral or religious convictions as an excuse to provide misleading information to patients. This ensures everyone has access to unbiased healthcare counseling.
We wouldn’t have been able to do this important reproductive freedom work without our supporters and everyone fighting for reproductive freedom in Virginia. Let’s keep up the fight and continue to celebrate our victories together.